Thursday, February 23, 2017

Make Your Videos Lively With Puppets

This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley. Rushton is the founder of Next Vista for Learning and the author of Making Your School Something Special.

Getting a thought across to students in a short video can happen in all sorts of ways, and using puppets is one of the better ones for making content that can appeal to all ages.

In this contest-winning video, Dennis Grice of Concordia International School in Shanghai made a piece to help students learn how not to spam each other, as well as what to do when getting messages that make you mad.

Spam: Don't Do It

A follow-up to watching this 90-second video might be having students think of some of the most important pieces of what they've studied, and to brainstorm what puppet PSA's could be that would help them remember the concepts going forward.

If they go ahead with making the videos, you might have them follow the rules in the Next Vista for Learning Creative Flight '17 contest, which runs through April. Find all the details here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

VocApp - Multimedia Flashcards on iOS and Android

Last week I shared a few tools that students can create digital flashcards. Two of those tools offer the option for including audio in flashcards. Another option is to use the VocApp app for iOS and Android.

To create flashcards on VocApp you need to create an account and sign-in. Once you're signed-in you can click "create flashcards" and begin writing out a list of words. Choose the language that you want to learn and VocApp will automatically translate words from English to the language you've selected. On the flashcard creation screen you can add an image to represent the words you're entering into your flashcards. The case of common words, VocApp will automatically add images to your flashcards. To help students learn how to pronounce words, VocApp offers audio support.

VocApp does offer some pre-made flashcard sets for sale, but you don't have to purchase anything in order to use the service to create and study your own flashcards. There is also a large gallery of public flashcards created by other users and made available for free.

Applications for Education
There is certainly not a shortage of flashcard services on the web. That doesn't mean we should ignore it when a new one comes around.  I like to give students a few options and let them choose. Some students may prefer the interface of VocApp over that of similar services. The ability to use VocApp in a web browser as well as on an Android tablet or iPad makes it a good option for BYOD settings.

Memrise - Learn New Languages

Memrise is a service through which you can learn vocabulary for a new-to-you language, study science flashcards, review math problems, or review content from any of the hundreds of online course offerings on Memrise.

Review on Memrise happens in a manner that is a blend of flashcard flipping and quiz question answering. After signing into your Memrise account select a category that you want to study. Then within that category choose one of the many sub-topics. For example, I chose History & Geography then selected Capitals and within that topic I selected Canadian Capitals. To review the capitals Memrise showed me a few capitals and locations in a flashcard style before hitting me with a few quiz questions. That pattern repeated until I had worked through all of the capitals. I earned points for correct and timely answers. My points helped me move up the leader board for the activity that I chose.

The content on Memrise is generated by users who develop and share materials. If you don't find materials suitable to the topic you're studying, you can develop and share your own online review course on Memrise.

Memrise offers Android and iPad apps to complement the online platform.

Applications for Education
Memrise offers Memrise for Teachers. Memrise for Teachers will allow you to add students to your online account, assign courses of study (sets of review materials) to them, and track your students' progress through Memrise activities.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Padlet Now Has Desktop and Mobile Notifications

Padlet's latest update adds the option for creators of Padlet walls to receive notifications on their desktops or mobile devices. Notifications on desktops come through the Chrome or Firefox browsers. Notifications can be enabled in the Padlet iOS and Android apps. From the browser notifications users can approve or deny new posts on Padlet walls and approve or deny requests to join a private Padlet wall.

This is the latest update in a string of Padlet updates over the last nine months. Some of the other updates in the last year include a complete overhaul of the user interface and the option to allow commenting on Padlet notes. Learn how to use commenting in the video embedded below.

How Search Works - An Illustrated Explanation

Google search is a part of our students' daily lives (most of them have never lived in world without Google), but often they don't know how the search results displayed before them got there. How Search Works is an animated graphic that reveals the basics of how websites are sorted, ranked, and presented to you in your search results. More information is revealed as you scroll down the How Search Works graphic.

A couple of years ago the folks at Canva created a Google Search Tips infographic for me. You can see that infographic below. Feel free to print it for display in your classroom. 

Last week I hosted a sold-out webinar called Search Strategies Students Need to Know. The content of that webinar is available on demand.